EMPLOYEE BENEFITS CASE STUDIES
Case Study #1: Stability
As a small business owner you have several options when it comes to choosing an insurer. And choosing the right insurer, plan design and funding model should be aligned with your risk tolerance and desire for stability.
A small business owner with nine employees from the area had a similar decision to make. And they chose to work with a ‘traditional’ insurer – one that annually reviews claims versus premiums paid on a stand-alone basis in order to assess and set health and dental rates. In this particular situation, due to a serious illness for one of the staff members, claims were high, and as a result, over a two-year period the businesses premiums rose by nearly 200 per cent. As any small business owner knows and can appreciate, this was not sustainable and affordable for a small firm.
After our analysis of their claims and a thorough understanding of their goals and objectives, it was recommended that a fully pooled Chambers of Commerce Plan would be most suitable, with some cost containment and plan management being added to their plan design. Access to the Chambers Plan was easy, simply by joining their local participating Chamber of Commerce they gained access to one of the largest employee benefits plans of its kind in Canada, insuring over 30,000 businesses nationwide.
By changing carriers to the Chambers Plan this small business was able to maintain its core objective by providing coverage for staff inorder to help retain their quality employees and now know that being a part of a fully pooled plan will provide them protection from the large premium increases they had experienced in the past when that key staff member was taken ill – all of that while saving on their month-to-month bottom line.
Case Study #2: Flexibility
Businesses come in all shapes and sizes and because of this, their needs, goals and objectives are similarly unique. As such, their employee benefits plan needs to be tailored to suit their particular challenges and pain points.
In that light, we recently met with a small business that had a challenge faced by many others. Their staff was made up of individuals representing a real cross-section of the broader community: there were single, married, divorced staff members, some with children or even grandchildren. There were young, old and middle aged staff members, meaning they all had unique needs, and thus the company needed an insurance and employee benefits plan with coverage that was satisfactory for them all.
As with most challenges in life and business, there are many ways to proceed, but in this particular case we immediately assumed the role as their employee benefits consultants, giving us the opportunity to help them service and administer their plan right away so as to not impact the staff or business. This gave us a further understanding of what recommendation to make in order for them to gain the most out of their plan.
After a year as their employee benefits consultants, we recommended some plan adjustments, including the addition of a COST Plus program. We further recommended after a thorough review of their claims experience, that by moving to another insurer and adjusting co-insurance levels and the paramedical component of their plan, we could save them further premium dollars and essentially paying for the new COST Plus program.
As a result, staff now have more flexibility in their coverage by using the COST Plus program to top up their coverage anywhere that the plan doesn’t meet their needs. For example, the old plan didn’t have eyeglass coverage, but with the COST Plus account of $750 per employee, they were able to claim their glasses. Other employees that use to max out their account at $400 per year for massage therapy now have additional resources to meet their needs.
At the end of the day, the small business was able to maintain a similar investment, but increase the overall value to staff.